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Minister: Kurdistan oil production to jump to 1 million in near future Thursday, August 19th 2010 4:18 PM Erbil, Aug. 19 (AKnews) – Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)’s minister of energy and natural resources says Kurdistan will produce up to 1 million barrels of oil per day by 2014, ten times more than the current production. The remarks by Ashti Harwami came during a joint press conference with the KRG spokesman Kawa Mahmoud on Thursday in the Kurdish capital of Erbil. “Kurdistan oil reserves are estimated at around 45 billion barrels and its natural gas reserves are 20 trillion cubic meters. We will have oil for the next 50 years,” said Hawrami. He said the existence of large amounts of natural gas has put Kurdistan on the world’s energy map and will allow it to join the Nabucco project. Nabucco pipeline will transport natural gas from Turkey to Austria in an attempt to reduce Europe’s dependence on Russia’s natural gas. An agreement was signed between Turkey and several other European countries in 2009 to launch the project which is expected to operate by 2015. Commenting on the reports by the local and international media that the KRG has exported crude oil to Iran, Hawrami said, “Crude oil has not been transported to anywhere outside of the Kurdistan Region illegally. The Iraqi Constitution allows us to sell oil and it is our right to do so but we have not sold crude oil so far except for a four-month period when Kurdistan’s crude oil was sent to Turkey’s Jihan port.” “If we want to export crude oil we will do it openly. There is no need for secrecy.” A New York Times report in July accused the KRG of exporting thousands of liters of crude oil to Iran on a daily basis despite international sanctions on Tehran. Following the report, Iraqi government said it will launch an inquiry into the matter and warned the KRG not to export crude oil without Baghdad’s consent. “We work according to the Constitution and laws. We do not listen to someone who has failed,” said Hawrami in what appeared to be a reference to Hussein Shahristani, the Iraqi oil minister. “The current fuel crisis in Iraq is part of the failed policies of the Iraqi government. We work according to the oil and gas laws in Kurdistan that were approved by the Kurdistan parliament in 2007.” In the recent years Iraq’s oil production has gone above and below pre-war levels at times. That is despite billions of dollars invested in the sector by the Iraqi government. With regard to the KRG’s controversial oil agreements with international firms, Hawrami said the foreign companies will receive 60 percent of Kurdistan’s oil income while the KRG will take the remaining 40 percent. He said currently 17 foreign companies are working in Kurdistan’s oil sector. The Iraqi government and the opposition parties in Kurdistan have frequently objected to the production sharing agreements between the KRG and foreign firms saying it allows international companies to take a significant amount of Iraq’s oil revenues. On his part, Mahmoud, the KRG spokesman said the Kurds have demanded other Iraqi parties a commitment to settle oil and gas disputes between the KRG and Baghdad once the next government is formed. Explaining the KRG’s oil policies in the past few years, energy and natural resources minister, Hawrami, said in 2009 the KRG spent $700 million on buying gasoline from outside in order to operate power plants in Kurdistan. But thanks to the increase in domestic production this year the regional government to date has only spent $80 million. Hawrami said Kurdistan’s oil income does not exceed $200 million which is deposited at a special account in the KRG’s ministry of finance. He said next month a large oil refinery in Kalak area, west of Erbil, will start working. The refinery – built with a $400 million budget – will produce natural gas and car and airplane fuels. Ms/Sm/AKnews
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